(Media release from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety):
Georgia law enforcement officers are giving their only warning for drivers prior to the start of the July 4th holiday weekend to never mix alcohol and driving.
State troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and police officers in Georgia maintain a year-round zero-tolerance policy for drunk and drugged driving and arrest all drivers found to be over the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit (BAC) in Georgia of .08. No excuses. No exceptions.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is partnering with the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division, GOHS Traffic Enforcement Networks, and GOHS Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (H.E.A.T.) units to increase enforcement during the extended holiday weekend with the goal to reduce crashes and save lives.
These officers will be working throughout the weekend to take drunk and drugged drivers off the road and enforce all traffic laws including speed limit, hands-free, reckless driving, and seat belts.
“If you are stopped for driving under the influence, do not ask for a warning because this is the only warning we will give,” said Allen Poole, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “State troopers and local law enforcement officers want those who have been drinking to ride with a sober driver because if a Georgia law enforcement officer has to give a drunk driver a ride, it will be to jail in the back seat of a patrol car.”
Driving under the influence is not worth the risk. It not only endangers the live of the drunk or drugged driver but also other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road.
A DUI arrest is estimated to cost up to $10,000 in court costs, fines, attorney fees, and higher insurance premiums and can lead to someone being fired from a job or keep someone from being hired.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 493 people were killed in traffic crashes during the 84-hour July 4th holiday travel period in 2020 that began at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2nd and ended at 5:59 a.m. on Monday, July 6th. More than 40 percent of those fatalities during the extended July 4th holiday weekend in the United States in 2020 were alcohol-impaired crashes. Eighty-five percent of fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers during the July 4th holiday travel period in the United States in 2020 happened at night.
NHTSA data for Georgia shows 90 people have been killed during July 4th holiday travel period crashes over a five-year period from 2016 to 2020. More than 30 percent of those fatalities in Georgia during the July 4th holiday travel period were alcohol-impaired crashes, and 65% of those alcohol-impaired crashes involved drivers whose BAC was twice the legal limit in Georgia.
“All drunk driving deaths are completely preventable because they are caused by someone making the decision to drive after drinking,” Poole said. “Every time you pass the keys to a sober driver, call for a ride, or give a friend a ride, you are helping to save a life. Do not let the holiday weekend end in tragedy.”
AAA’s The Auto Club Group will be giving free tows and rides to only the driver of the vehicle for up to 10 miles in Georgia beginning at 6:00pm on Friday, July 1 to 6:00am on Tuesday, July 5. AAA reminds drivers they cannot make appointments for their Tow-to-Go Service as the service is designed as a safety net for those who did not plan ahead for a sober ride.
According to AAA, more than 1.3 million people are expected to be on the road in Georgia during the July 4th holiday period. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and NHTSA offer the following safe driving tips:
- Allow more time for your trip due to more vehicles being on the road
- Do not try to make up time by speeding.
- Make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt and children under 8 are riding in an approved safety seat
- Designate a passenger to use a phone for navigation and communication
- Take breaks when needed and change drivers if possible